Aerial East – ‘Try Harder’ album review

Released via Partisan Records, Aerial East’s ‘Try Harder’ is a coming-of-age record that looks at everything from trying to find your perfect home to dealing with friendships and feelings of loneliness. It also looks at the effect people from your past can have on your entire life.

The sparse atmospherics of the title track open the record with Aerial looking back on someone beautiful who seemed to make things look so easy and how this changed her outlook: ‘I gotta try harder’. ‘The Things We Build’ follows with bouncy and swirling melodies that will stay in your head – all iced with a sprinkling of country sounds. This song specifically captures the feeling of never settling: ‘The things we built don’t always feel like mine. I’m coming home to a place I can’t find’. This is swiftly followed by ‘Katharine’, a wistful ode to a beautiful bond shared between Aerial, an army brat, and an East Village soon-to-be fashion student, set against a Sufjan-style chamber pop backing: ‘You always said I changed you when I met’; ‘When I needed you, yoy took me to your room’.

‘I Love Dick’ moves into a more orchestral and layered sound with strings and harmonies blending together before ‘San Angelo’ takes a look back at how a visit to a bigger city changed Aerial’s life. ‘Blue’ again finds Aerial reminiscing on someone important from her past who has since moved on (‘Do you remember the things that are haunting me?’) while Final Fantasy-esque ‘Ryan’ opens with a recorded sample of the sea before Aerial delivers a conversational narrative about how special a friend the subject of the title was. This celebration of friendship continues through ‘Brennan’ before the song finishes with the dramatic ‘Be Leavin’, where Aerial pleads ‘Give me something to believe in’ over electronic effects. The delivery – like so much of this important and personal album – will give you goosebumps.

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